A CHINESE BLUE AND WHITE ‘SEAMSTRESSES’ VASE.
Of baluster form, finely painted in underglaze blue with group of well four dressed ladies, one seated cutting fabric with a companion sewing around a dreamstone-inset table in front of a large screen, whilst to their right, on the garden veranda a lady draws a thread between her teeth whilst holding it at either end between forefinger and thumb, and to her right a young lady stands observing, a fan tucked beneath her right arm, a band of clouds encircles the neck, wood cover, 34 cm. (2)
Provenance: Henning v. Helmersen Collection [label]
Although both silk production, based in Hangzhou, and porcelain, based in Jindezhen, were far from the Imperial capital, the Kangxi Emperor was developing both. The publication of the Yuzhi gengzhi tu (Imperially Commissioned Illustrations of Agriculture and Sericulture), commissionedby the Emperor in 1696, illustrated scenes related to the present one and was commonly used as inspiration for ceramic designs. The present vase appears to be unique in its depictions and beautifully combines masterful painting with daily quotidian of female labourers and the technological sophistication which underpinning the artistic achievements of the Kangxi period.